As you probably saw, I sent out a couple of emails to my internet marketing newsletter subscribers asking:

“When it comes to creating and launching your own product, what do you see as the biggest single challenge?”

I gave these options:


First of all I’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU if you voted, I’ve always found that for some reason only a minority of people bother to participate in surveys like these so I appreciate it if you took the time!

And if you didn’t, of course that’s okay too… I hope you still get value from this write up 🙂

In this blog post we’ll look at:

1) Why I ran this survey
2) Results summary
3) Solutions to the challenges

Let’s get cracking…

Why I Ran This Survey

I ran this survey because selling your own digital product (PDF report, video course, software, audio etc) is one of the single best ways – if not the best way – to get started generating a sustainable monthly online income.

The benefits are huge:

1. Buyers
Subscribers from squeeze pages and email optin forms are great and I have many of those.

But buyers – people who have purchased one of your own products – are many times more valuable in terms of your future profits.

100 customers who’ve purchased your product (even if it’s $7) are more valuable than 1,000 subscribers who opted in for your free gift.

Other things equal, the more buyers you can get on your email list, the higher your monthly income will be.

2. Customers Pay For Your Traffic
You can drive traffic to squeeze pages using methods like guest posting, YouTube videos and forum marketing which costs you time.

Or you can buy Facebook ads, solos ads or banners which cost you money.

But if you offer a generous commission on your own product then affiliates will send you traffic: Part of each customer’s payment gets directed automatically to the affiliate as their reward.

This is immensely powerful: So far this year I’ve received 68,738 visitors purely from affiliates (and that’s just me – there are many bigger online businesses than mine using affiliate traffic across all sorts of online niches).

3. The Traffic Is Warm
The 68,738 visitors produced 5,169 individual sales – a conversion rate of around 7.5%, rounded to 8% in this screenshot:


This is ONLY traffic from affiliates. It doesn’t include any visitors or sales I sent from my lists. It’s also just one affiliate network I use for budget priced list building products.

Compare this to the 1% average online conversion and then consider that if you use other paid and free traffic sources then you’ll be doing very well if you can reach a 2% conversion rate.

In a nutshell, affiliate traffic converts so well because it’s WARM.

Unlike “cold” traffic (FB Ads, Solo Ads, YouTube videos, guest posting etc) where you have to work pretty hard to warm visitors up in order to make a sale, affiliate traffic has been referred by a trusted source (usually other marketers’ email lists) and so is much more “ready to buy”.

PLEASE NOTE: I DO use other non-product creation methods in my business, including some pure affiliate marketing. The money is nice but much less than from product creation. So in this post I’m not suggesting product creation is the only way to go. But the reality remains that if you want a sizeable and regular income online then it would be crazy to ignore it.

Right then, let’s move on to looking at the survey results.

Results Summary

Here’s a quick screenshot of the results:


Let’s break this down and focus on the solutions…

Challenge 1 (33%): What Product To Create (And How Without Expertise)

With almost a third of the votes this is by far the number one perceived challenge.

Here’s the solution…

Question: Armed with just your computer and an internet connection and 2-3 weeks could you:

  • Create a video on how to create your first WordPress website?
  • Use Google and affiliate networks to draw up a list of profitable niches and put them into a nicely formatted PDF report?
  • Watch 15-20 YouTube videos on how to be more productive (get more work done in less time) and write up the best tips into a PDF?
  • Buy 3 top selling products on losing belly fat, distil down the methods and tactics, then create a new guide?
  • Send out a Google Docs survey to 20 successful currency traders asking them the how to get profitable trading currencies within 30 days from scratch. Then create an audio, video or report of your findings?
  • Get a survival expert on Skype for 60 minutes to talk through their top 10 most valuable tools and gadgets they take into the wilderness?
  • Hire a coder on to build a better version of a popular WordPress plugin or web browser extension?
  • Search Google & job forums for tips on getting and succeeding in job interviews – then create a little guide from it aimed at job seekers?

These are all profitable ideas and you can do them without any existing expertise.

I hope you’ll note the methods that are used too: Google Docs Survey, Skype interview, YouTube research, buy top products and rework/update the content, gather resources from Google, forums, outsource on Upwork etc.

If you start thinking about these you begin to realise that you’re more like a publisher or a journalist – gathering up useful information to help customers save time.

You don’t need to be an expert yourself at all.

The key though is to pick a topic for your product that is a proven seller.

And the way to do that is to forget your own ideas and look carefully at your niche to see what customers are already spending money on.

Use sites like Clickbank, Udemy and JVZoo to do this but also subscribe to marketers in your niche and watch what they are promoting.

By all means update, enhance and put your own angle and twist on what you see, but ALWAYS stick with a core topic that is already selling!

Challenge 2 (17.8%): Worried About Doing All The Work And It Failing

This is a natural concern and a huge perceived problem.

Here’s the key to bypassing it:

1. Follow The Formula

The formula for success is this: Create a quality product that customers want to buy and present it on an attractive sales page.

When you have that you have the closest thing possible to an online ATM cash machine because all you really have to do is contact marketers with decent email lists in your niche and basically say,

“Here’s a copy of my product, do you think your audience might be interested in hearing about it? If so, I’m offering this commission…”

You’ll find a lot of affiliates (around 50% in my experience) will say yes because they’ll see that it’s a good product and is worth promoting because the sales page is also good.

2. Abandon Your Employee Mindset

I guarantee that most people reading this post have the employee mindset.

In school we are conditioned to get a job and later, as years of employment pass, that conditioning hardens.

As an employee it doesn’t matter if you have a bad day, frustrating week or stressful month: You still get paid.

You have certainty in financial reward. And this acts as a unconscious comfort blanket that wraps around you.

That’s why people fear doing the work on a project and it not paying off – it’s just so different to how most of us are brought up and what we’re used to.

You might want certainty but I’m afraid, in business, you simply can’t have it, not 100%. The sooner you embrace that, the more financial success you’ll begin to see.

If you don’t abandon your employee mindset then your subconscious will self-sabotage your success by making you quit every single project you start (sound familiar?).

I know this well because it’s happened to me.

You can’t completely eliminate the risk but the good news is that by following the formula (above) you can bump up your chances of a nice financial reward to a very high level (90%+ in my experience of observing and working with others).

And more good news: With an home based online business the start up costs can be kept incredibly small so there is very little financial risk anyway.

Finally, my other tip is stop thinking about “failure” and instead think about “testing”.

For example, let’s say I run with the example in the survival niche above (a very profitable niche I might add). I’d say to myself, “I’m going to put this product together and test the market. I’ll do my best and let’s see what result I get.”

Don’t get hung up on it, just get the product done, live and drive as many sales as you can.

That’s a success and a proper test.

But not starting or quitting during the project because it might not pay off is the only true failure that exists.

Challenge 3 (15%): What Niche To Choose

This is one challenge that you don’t want to delay, not least because you literally can’t make money without choosing your niche, but also because there’s no need to.

To state the obvious, you need a profitable niche.

The simplest and best way to find out if a niche is profitable is to look for existing products that are being sold in it online: Use Google, UDemy, Clickbank, etc to uncover this and if there is nothing being sold then forget it and move on.

Begin by writing down a list of your interests (e.g. woodworking, model railroads, scrapbooking), employment experience (e.g. sales, radio, management) and life experience (e.g. depression, losing weight, travel).

If any of them are profitable then great, choose and go forward.

If not, start off in the internet marketing (IM) niche: You obviously have an interest in it (your reading this for a start!) and as such you’re in a great position to create products that help people who aren’t as far down the road as you are.

To be absolutely clear: I am not in anyway suggesting you “fake it until you make it”, teach people how to make money when you haven’t or do anything underhand or that might be considered “questionable”.

That’s not ethical and you don’t need to anyway: Some of the product ideas I set out above are in the IM niche and can be done without any prior expertise or making any money.

Remember, you’re just the publisher or journalist bringing useful information to the table that will help your customers save time because they don’t have to do the research work themselves.

When it comes to niches, make the decision and go forward.

After one project you can either stick with the niche or use your newly acquired marketing skills in another niche.

A niche doesn’t have to be “for life” and that’s the great thing with product creation – 90% of the skills are evergreen and completely transferable to other online markets.

Challenge 4 (11.1%): How To Create A High Converting Sales Page

Creating a sales page that converts the visitors landing on it into paying customers is arguably the single most profitable skill there is.

Specifically, this skill is called copywriting.

That word alone sends shivers down the spine of most people which is why they ignore it and go and do other things that seem much more enjoyable like fiddling around with websites.

Of course, you can outsource your sales copy… I’ve never done that myself because I like to have control and (as I say) it’s such a worthwhile skill to learn yourself.

However, many very successful people do outsource so if you have the budget then this is a very worthwhile option.

On balance though I would recommend you learn how to create sales pages yourself.

How to do that is way beyond the scope of this post (we cover a lot in the members area) but here are some quick tips:

1. Study sales pages of best selling products. I take screen captures with Snagit, or free alternative Jing and save them in my “swipe” folder in Dropbox.

2. Understand that although sales pages can look intimidating they are really only a series of components (headline, narration, guarantee, benefit bullets, postscripts, etc). Learn what these components are and what order they should go in and you’re 80% of the way there to creating a great sales page.

3. Do only 30-40 minutes of work per day. Let’s say today you write your guarantee, then tomorrow 5 candidate headlines, then the next day a list of benefit bullets. This keeps it fresh in your mind, reduces overwhelm and you’ll be surprised how quickly your efforts cumulate after a week or so.

Challenge 5 (8.9%): How To Approach And Get Affiliates To Promote

I gave a little hint at this above. But the thing to do is let your sales page and product do the work for you.

Just be relaxed and friendly when you contact potential affiliates. Remember they make a living through promoting other people’s products and because your product and sales is good then they’ll be glad to hear about it.

Not everyone will say yes (a lot of affiliates will have other mailings or projects already lined up) but that’s okay and normal.

It’s quick to contact people and even just a single affiliate with a decent list can make you a few thousand in income.

Challenge 6 (7%): Emailing The Customer List Afterwards To Build Trust & Promote Products

Free content (blog posts, quick tips/resources in emails) and informative promotions (instead of “just buy this now!” nonsense) are the keys here.

Don’t over think it, only email when you feel you can add value to your subscribers lives and read the emails of other successful marketers in your niche (that you admire) for ideas on how to model your email copy.

Challenge 7 (3.9%): Worried About Having To Create New Products All The Time

You don’t need to – most products, if done correctly, can be made evergreen.

Yes, some people choose to follow the “perpetual launch model” with a new release every month. But that’s not a model I’ve ever followed. As I write this I’ve released 3 new products in the last 2 years and earn a very healthy 6-figure annual income online.

Some people do even less than me, they stick with one product and just work on improving and getting more traffic to it.

Whatever way feels right for you – it’s good.

Challenge 8 (3.3%): Handling Customer Support

In my experience only about 10-15% of your customers will ever contact you.

And of those that do 80% of the queries will be things like, “I can’t access my product” for which you can use template email replies (I use the “Canned Responses” free addon for Gmail)

Of course, you can outsource if you wish but really customer support is not a problem in the grand scheme of things.

Personally, I enjoy hearing from customers and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about how you can serve them better.

Above All Remember: YOU Can Do This – It’s ONLY A Matter Of Learning Each Step And Implementing It. Patience, Tenacity & Choosing To Enjoy The Learning Curve Are The Only Secrets!

There is so much more I could share with you on each of the topics we’ve covered but in the interests of brevity I’ve focused on the main points – I hope you’ve found them helpful.

There is a lot more in the members area – blatant plug 🙂 – including support from me and if you’re not a member already then sign up here for a trial and check it out.

Please drop a quick comment below and let me know what you think of all this, including questions. Good/Bad/Ugly, it’s all good – just fire away 🙂 Cheers, Rob.